Sony Open to Paid Alphas

The Wooster

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Jul 15, 2008
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Sony Open to Paid Alphas


The PS4, PS3 and Vita could see more "early access" enabled games.

Gather round, children. Let old man Grey tell you a story. Once, many moons ago, testing videogames was a paid position. They paid you, not vice versa. Then developers realized they could test games and acquire precious gems by offering early access to games In exchange for pre-orders or in-game purchases. The system has flourished on the PC, with multiple games launching in alpha or beta states, albeit with very functional real-money stores.

Speaking to Joystiq, SCEA VP of publisher and developer relations at Sony America, Adam Boyes, confirmed that Sony wouldn't be averse to allowing not-quite finished games on its consoles as long as they don't "have any bugs that are completely destroying the world.

"[Dust 514] is a great example of putting out content that you know is not final," he explained. "If you want to monetize it, that's fine. I mean, if you want to put out a game that's playable and does pass the checklists and stuff, you can. If it doesn't sell and you can't support, you may not want to support, but we absolutely support that."

What's interesting is that this system would almost definitely clash with Sony's QA policies regarding digital downloads and patches. Work-in-progress games generally require a constant stream of patches, each of which will have to go through a certification process to make sure it doesn't crash the console or compromise its security. The certification process also costs developers a pretty penny. Exactly how much Sony and Microsoft charge for certification is unknown, but developers have thrown around figures in the tens of thousands.

Source: Joystiq [http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/26/sony-open-to-buy-in-alpha-games-for-playstation-platforms/]


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Bindal

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May 14, 2012
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Sony now, just a short time ago with Valve.

Why not? I mean, if it contains the game itself in the end, that's a good way to check out the game when you pre-ordered it.
 

Hazzard

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Jan 25, 2012
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I don't agree with having to pay for Alphas and Betas, but I don't mind free ones.
Because say they do a paid alpha for Call of Duty, what incentive do they have to finish it, the fans will buy into it anyway.
 

Bindal

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May 14, 2012
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Hazzard said:
I don't agree with having to pay for Alphas and Betas, but I don't mind free ones.
Actually, it's more like "pre-order game, get access to Alpha and Beta" and not "buy the Alpha/Beta"
 

Strazdas

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May 28, 2011
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Bindal said:
Hazzard said:
I don't agree with having to pay for Alphas and Betas, but I don't mind free ones.
Actually, it's more like "pre-order game, get access to Alpha and Beta" and not "buy the Alpha/Beta"
Actually its more like "instead of paying people to quality test our game, we will have people pay us to get to do that"
 

Hagi

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Apr 10, 2011
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I don't really see any problem with this to be honest.

I mean the option we've always had of waiting until release and purchasing the final version is still there.

It's not like say on-disc DLC where previously we'd get everything on the disc and now part of that is held ransom, that's taking something away.

This is just adding a new option for those who want it, you now also have the option to pre-order and play a beta version before release. You don't have to, but you could if you wanted.

I don't really see how this is doing any harm to customers. If you don't like alphas or betas then just wait until release, like you'd have to do anyway if such offers weren't available.

Nobody's losing anything, those want to play in alphas and betas are just gaining something.

Plus, it's not like this will be replacing in-house paid testers for any studio worth their salt. You'll still need those and they'll still be there, but now they'll just have a horde of additional games to provide minor extra hints to bugs.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
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I have no problem with this. Early access to the game that you already pre-ordered is not a bad thing. In fact, it's better than exclusive in-game items for pre-orders. Of course, they're not gonna get rid of those, unfortunately. Wish they would.
 

bluegate

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So what is up with that creepy picture there?

As for the article, I wouldn't mind paying a few bucks for early access to a alpha or beta in some cases, I'd say let come this system!
 

Bindal

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DVS BSTrD said:
Q: So what happens if I decide I don't want the game anymore?
A: Welcome to the life of a videogame tester!
On Steam, you should be able to get a refund.

bluegate said:
So what is up with that creepy picture there?
Battlefield 3 Beta. The Worm-guy bug.
 

Genocidicles

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Credossuck said:
we allowed minecraft to do it.
we loved it.
sure there are different corporate mechanics (money! lets save it!) and people invovled but ultimatly i have to say:

This is nothing new. Minecraft is the most prominent example from the indie market.
It was to be expected that the industry might latch on to that - with the added impudence of demanding more money for it of course.
Paying for the Alpha of Minecraft meant getting it a lot cheaper. When it switched to Beta it went up in price, but it was still cheaper than the finished version.

I don't see that happening with big budget, triple-A games.

And I doubt you'd be able to keep the Alpha or Beta version for ever. Chances are they'd charge you full price for access for two week Alpha/Beta version.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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Does everyone remember that one EA's debacle following the release of their EULA update where it stated that if you weren't doing QA for them, you'd be banned?

For some reason, that popped into my head
 

BrotherRool

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Oct 31, 2008
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Genocidicles said:
Credossuck said:
we allowed minecraft to do it.
we loved it.
sure there are different corporate mechanics (money! lets save it!) and people invovled but ultimatly i have to say:

This is nothing new. Minecraft is the most prominent example from the indie market.
It was to be expected that the industry might latch on to that - with the added impudence of demanding more money for it of course.
Paying for the Alpha of Minecraft meant getting it a lot cheaper. When it switched to Beta it went up in price, but it was still cheaper than the finished version.

I don't see that happening with big budget, triple-A games.

And I doubt you'd be able to keep the Alpha or Beta version for ever. Chances are they'd charge you full price for access for two week Alpha/Beta version.
Dude, what you're doing is assuming 2 things which haven't been mentioned at all and then blaming a company for doing them. You invented the idea that the pricing scheme is going to be the same if you buy at alpha, you invented the idea that big AAA games are going to be doing this (since they barely ever let those games even release footage or screenshots without a huge fuss I doubt many of them are ready to let people mess around with alphas).


These things may happen. But you can#t say Minecraft is right for X, Y and Z but I am going to say that Sony isn#t thinking about x,Y,Z despite their rhetoric being hugely focused on encouraging more indie development on their console to the extent of giving the creator of Braid the primetime display slot on our special launch.


If what you say happens, thats when we can complain about it. (Or even better, not buy the alpha! Then no harm done right? No-one is forcing us to buy an incomplete game and I like to believe most people are intelligent enough not to)



Dust 514 is already a complete game in it's own right. The model their talking about their is the model EVE used and still uses and players love it to pieces where the developers are constantly working to change and upgrade the game instead of adding theme park expansions